Part of USS Neptune: Fear The Darkness and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Chapter 2 Phantom of the Past

Ryders Personal Quarters
February 26th 2400
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The room was eerily dark yet for some reason it seemed familiar the eerie glow of lighting seemingly out of place. Michael recognized this place, but something told him he didn’t want to remember it. A bloodcurdling scream echoed through the halls, which made Michael jump. Every fiber of his being made him want to run, but he knew he needed to press towards the noise. The path riddled with bodies as Michael pushed through phaser in hand. The air was stale and as he breathed he coughed. Rounding the corner another long hallway presented itself, but this time the bodies were all Michaels, as he observed the bodies another scream could be heard sending chills down his back. The fear in him intensifying as the memories of this place began to flood back.

It was the one place he didn’t want to see again it was the area he had shut off for so long and yet here it was showing up. He turned and began to run trying to escape the horror ahead. Each step he took seeming to be harder to achieve until he heard it the voice ‘You can’t escape me, Ryder. I can’t be forgotten.’ Michael froze in his path and turned. The black figure at the end of the hallway with Michael’s face heading toward him. “You know you can’t win I have done this before.” 

The figure laughed the sound vibrating the hallway “Yes, but now you have two things you care about and all I want to do is tear your life apart so that they feel the pain I know.” 

Michael clenched his fist and out of pure anger charged the figure, as he threw his punch at the figure it faded away. A slight whisper in the air echoing “I will be back Michael. I will be back.” 

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Michael sprang up from his bed in an intense sweat his pupils dilated and trying to catch his breath. The nightmare was back he hadn’t had it in so log, but it returned. It always felt like it was so real. Michael got out of bed and made his way into the living part of his quarters. He had tried for so long to forget the fear he had of losing those he cared about, but now that both Felicity and their daughter was in the picture it had returned. He replicated some ice cold water and sat on the couch trying to forget what had just happened.

Michael had that nightmare off and on ever sense he lost a dear friend in an away mission, each time the nightmare different for the situation, but the premise was the same the figure always saying they would return. The screams being the people he had failed to save or was afraid of losing. He put his head into his palms crying. This was the last thing he needed as the ship was heading for Kunhri III. His briefing had been interrupted by the need for his officers on the station.

His thoughts interrupted by the smooth voice of Felicity breaking through the silence “Mike is everything ok?” She said as she stood there looking at him concern spreading over her face. 

Michael shook his head “Not really I had a nightmare, Lic one I haven’t had in a long time.” He stated as he looked her in the eyes. The tears visible as they ran down his face.

Felicity sat down and embraced him. Michael had never mentioned anything about this, but Felicity knew that he had to have struggles with something. “Hey, Mike it’s going to be ok I promise. I am here if you need me. You know I love you.”

Michael pulled her closer “I know you do, Lic and I appreciate you. I  just didn’t think this would happen until now. Every time something good happens I have a fear of messing it up or losing those people. When that happens my inner demons take over and the phantom of my fears come out. This dream is a repeating thing, but it changes to the situation.” He stopped laying his head on Felicity’s shoulder.

Felicity listened carefully before speaking “Where or when did this start Mike?”

Michael looked back at Felicity and took a deep breath “It started after losing a friend on an away mission years ago when I was still a junior officer. That death was not my fault, but after his death I was scared of losing those I cared about or loved. I know attachment is bad in some cases, but it is who I am and I can’t change that. Now that I have you and Mary I don’t want to lose either of you.”

Felicity guided Michaels gaze to hers “Mike I have waited this long to be with you if I didn’t care or wanted to leave I would have never came to the ship in the first place. I have said it before I love you and I have since the moment we met all those years ago.” She smiled and gave Michael a kiss.

Michael nodded and sighed it seemed she always had a way with words. He gave her a kiss back and whispered “Only a few more months than it will be official.” 

Felicity smiled as she ran a finger down his cheek before standing up “Are you coming back to bed?” 

Michael got up just to hear the chirp from his commbadge “Lieutenant Bolton to Captain Ryder, can you come to Astrometric’s please?”  

Michael’s eyebrow arched at the request it wasn’t normal for him to be called to Astrometric’s. It was a good thing he was up, though according to the chronometer he would be up soon anyways. He shot the sideways glance to Felicity before tapping his badge “Will be that was shortly Lieutenant.”

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Michaela was always the first to the lab and the last to leave and it was how she preferred it. Some said she had no life and in some cases that was true, but she didn’t mind because she loved what she did. She had been told about the ships current destination and as per any trip she wanted to look at the charts for the area. She had found something that didn’t seem to match and knew the Captain needed to know.

She was just getting her information in order when the Captain entered the room it was quiet because she was the only one there. “Ahh Captain Ryder, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. I have been on the ship for a few months, but on most occasions the Captain does not come see us.” 

Michael nodded “It is true I should probably come down here more often. The systems down here are one of a kind that’s for sure.” He said as he straightened his uniform. He had took a quick sonic shower and made himself look presentable, after all the Captain was the figure of authority. 

Michaela smiled “I hope I did not wake you up, Sir. I am known to get here early and usually stay late. I was doing some research on the Kunhri system and something isn’t adding up. If you look at these charts from a few years back to now the system has seemed to change. The reading previously give the system no extra planets or orbiting bodies, but now something appeared. This seems to be a smaller object. I also did some cross checking through record. I hope that’s ok. The records indicate changes in readings for any ship that enters the system. According to this record it’s like the system now has a net over it that impedes the ability of our sensors. This cannot be a coincidence in fact it seems this object has something to do with that interference.”

Michael looked over the information as Michaela shared it impressed by the amount of detail she went into with her report to him. The information did show an anomaly, but without investigation in the system there was not definitive way for him to acknowledge the changes that the Astrometric’s officer had highlighted. 

“Well I do see your point Lieutenant and I have to say you did a phenomenal job in the information you have discovered. This is an issue that needs looked into, but until we get to the system there is not much I can do to investigate your suspicions and the reports we have received. I do believe this is an issue and it is important for us to investigate it as soon a possible. Is there anything else Lieutenant?”

Michaela smiled and shook her head “That is all I can think of Captain.”

Michael nodded “Well continue the good work and please prepare this report for my senior staff briefing where you will be present.” He said with a smile.

“I will be present, Sir?” She said questioning the orders, as it wasn’t normal for her to be asked at such briefings.

“Yes, you will as you are now not just the Astrometric’s Officer, but the ships Astrometric’s Specialist and the lead of any briefings regarding Astrometric’s. Keep up the good work Lieutenant I will inform you when the briefing takes place.”

Michaela smiled “Thank you, Sir it will be my honor.”

Michael nodded and departed heading for his office to prepare before the briefing he had scheduled in a few hours. He was still rattled from earlier, but between Felicity and his duties he knew he would be ok, at least for now.

TBC

Comments

  • Now that was a moody, moody start to the story! The way you used to lush and sticky prose to describe Michael’s dream worked well to use a reader’s sense memories to elicit a reaction. It creeped me out for sure. Michael is so haunted, and I can only guess that this means trouble is a-brewin’. It’s so heartbreaking that Michael’s newfound love with Felicity makes him all the more vulnerable, since he has so much more to lose. I hope he’ll be able to keep it together if the situation get’s stressful on the other side of the border. The findings from Michaela in Astrometrics are just as ominous. Are Michael’s dreams of losing crew members a foreshadowing of losses to come from whatever is distorting the sensor readings about the Kunhri system? I can’t wait to find out.

    June 2, 2022